Former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov defeated the world's best chess computer, Deep Thought, last night in Memorial Hall.
Karpov, winner of 77 major international tournaments, is the second best chess player in the world. The world's premier chess master, Gary Kasparov, also a Soviet, visited Harvard for a series of matches last fall.
At a press conference before the match, Karpov said he was confident that he would win the game against Deep Thought, which analyzes more than 700,000 moves per second. "Any human can make a mistake," he said, "but I believe I must win."
Murray S. Camppell, an IBM researcher who helped develop Deep Thought, said he thought its chances of winning the match were "at best, one in 10."
During the post-game analysis, chess masters said that they were surprised at the computer's skill, despite its loss.
"If I didn't know who white was, I'd say black was playing better than white," said International Master and computer chess expert Michael Valvo, while discussing an early position in the match. Karpov played white, Deep Thought black.
Another IBM scientist involved with the project, Feng-hsiung Hsu, said that the final barriers that prevent computers from regularly defeating humans would be overcome in the next two to four years.
As his Harvard Chess Club-sponsored visit continues, Karpov will play simultaneously against 40 people today in a demonstration at Memorial Hall and give a lecture.
Daniel H. Edelman '91, chess club president, said that Karpov plays an important role outside of the chess world. "He is one of the few people who is a top sportsman and an important politician," he said.
Earlier in the day, Karpov spoke at the Russian Research Center about the changes taking place in Eastern Europe and Soviet Union.
"I don't like to mix sport and politics," Karpov said. "In reality, it happens often."
After returning to the Soviet Union, Karpov will attend the meeting of the Congress of People's Deputies at which the new Soviet Constitution will be discussed.
"We are in big time trouble," Karpov said. "In our economy, because we are without new laws on property...it is very difficult to move or make progress."
"Most deputies believe we need new laws for agriculture and land," Karpov said. "The people, if they understand democracy and accept--that is good."
Karpov said that the public had turned its attention away from chess because of concerns about economic and political changes.
"[There is] less chess space in newspapers because life became more interesting," Karpov said.